New East Digital Archive

Communist-era bikes make comeback in Bulgaria

Communist-era bikes make comeback in Bulgaria
The Balkan bike (Comfort model) (Image: Balkan Velo)

26 February 2016

An improved and updated version of Bulgaria’s once famous bicycle, the Balkan, is set to go on sale next week, after a huge growth in popularity.

The renewed Balkan bicycles are made by their original producer, Balkanvelo, based in the city of Lovech in north-central Bulgaria. The bike (then known as the Balkanche) was first produced in the 1960s and quickly became both a popular accessory and a symbol of the socialist era, but ceased to be produced after the fall of the Communist regime in 1989.

The bicycle over time began to see a new lease of life, however, becoming something of a must-have accessory within Sofia’s hipster circles. The new production of Balkan bicycles both responds to this popularity and forms part of Balkanvelo’s “Back to the roots” project, in which the company is seeking to draw on tradition in its current work.

The new range offers two models — Comfort and Classic. The Classic model, which is foldable and without gears, is most akin to the popular Communist-era bike that was popular in the 1970s and 1980s.

Source: Balkan Insight